"Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." ~Alan Alda Howdy!
After teaching my last class today I was telling a couple of co-workers about the fact that I have Bieber Fever. I mean, it was bound to happen. The kid isn't going anywhere and his music is getting better. So, I gave the new album a listen and was happy to hear a little dub step and just a more mature sound. It was nice. I reported this to my co-workers who were skeptical to say the least. The song 'As Long As You Love Me warrants a listen, in my opinion. I am not overly keen on the message per se (I tend to sniff out co-dependency like a drug dog looking for contraband) but I do get the idea behind it. He basically is saying that he cares about his girlfriend above all material things. He has found a partner he wants to spend his days with, through thick and thin. It is always a beautiful thing when someone can say that they want to stick it out with someone else. As the song played on of my colleagues said, "What does he know about tough times?" I immediately began thinking. I realized I was feeling frustrated because I felt that a human being's feelings were being invalidated due to assumptions being made.
Assumptions happen. I know that this is an area in my life that I must work on accepting completely because I get charged around it. When assumptions are made about me I feel like I didn't get a chance to explain myself or be myself. I sometimes feel marginalized. I also observe how rare it is for people to really ask each other questions and have genuine curiosity for one another. Often we assume we know someone based on a limited experience with them. Yes, generalizations can be made and be close to truth, however being genuinely curious is one of the best ways to get information. Believing you know who someone is because you see them doing something once certainly leads to more errors than a little.
So when the comment was made I thought… How can this person assume that Bieber (or anyone) wouldn't know hardship? Is it because he has fortune and fame? I mean everyone who has fortune and fame is happy and secure and has never had anything difficult to deal with, right?
Additionally, I began thinking about how many of us discount the feelings of people all of the time because of the assumptions made about someone because of their age, socio-economic status, intelligence (academic), etc. Adults decide kids don't know how something feels because we believe that having a few years more on this planet (in this lifetime) means we know more. Teens assume that older folks don't know because they are older and not where they are. We all assume that our knowing, experience, reality is the only one that is valid most of the time. It is no wonder we can feel defensive and bruised on a regular basis. We are all trying to assert our point of view as the right one, often times by invalidating everyone else's.
How often do you assume? How have you invalidated someone recently because of assumptions? How does it make you feel when you do it? Do you know if you have done it? Have you felt invalidated recently? Often when we invalidate others it is because we have been treated similarly or we do it to ourselves. We are more likely to decide someone else doesn't matter if we have been told (and we believe) that we don't matter as well.
You matter. I matter. We all matter. Our feelings are valid. Our ideas are valuable. We are loved and supported by the abundance that surrounds us. Share your stories. Own your value. Live your truth. Love yourself.
"Assumptions are the termites of relationships." ~Henry Winkler